Northern grain growers sowed about 450,000 hectares of chickpeas and 30,000 hectares of faba beans in 2012, resulting in the fixation of about 35,000 tonnes of nitrogen (N) worth $55 million in fertiliser N equivalence.
- The scale of N and economic benefits from growing a legume is determined by grain yield, the amount of legume biomass and the C:N ratio of the legume residue.
- Well-grown pulses will fix 80 to 120kg N/ha, increase soil nitrate levels by 30 to 40kg N/ha and boost the grain yield of the following wheat crop by 0.5 to 1.5t/ha.
- Nitrogen fixation of chickpeas and faba beans is enhanced by good agronomy, soil management and inoculation.
- Faba beans are more efficient at fixing N than chickpeas, principally because of their nitrate tolerance.
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